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Algeria Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in April, after Algeria's largest nationwide protests in more than 20 years calling for wholesale change in government. Interim president Abdelkader Bensalah announced on 15 September that presidential elections will be held on 12 December. This follows Army Chief of Staff General Ahmed Gaid Salah's insistence on organising elections. Protesters are highly likely to boycott elections, rejecting elections under the current political system, especially if no further concessions are made. These include the release of detained protesters and protest-leading figures.Protesters will attempt to pressure the current ruling elite and Salah by calling shut-down strikes targeting revenue-generating sectors, such as hydrocarbons. The stance taken by the army leadership on whether it aligns itself with the ruling elite or the protesters will be a critical factor in determining whether political change is achieved without major violence.Algeria experienced economic slowdown during 2018 (with GDP growth estimated at 1.1%), before recovering to a forecast 1.7% growth level in 2019. The government is highly likely to delay austerity measures to avoid fueling the ongoing anti-government protests. The Central Bank of Algeria will likely continue financing its fiscal deficit (of about 10% of GDP in 2019) unconventionally by printing money. So far, the government has avoided inflationary consequences by increasing minimum mandatory financial-sector reserves requirements to drain banking liquidity, but this approach is unlikely to prove sustainable. For 2020, we expect post-electoral fiscal austerity, together with softer global conditions, to slow Algeria's economy. The economic outlook is also subject to the electoral process and policy stance of the new president.'Algeria's security forces' operations have effectively contained the domestic jihadist threat effectively, reducing the likelihood of a successful attack in a major city, but the risk of transnational jihadist penetration from Libya, Mali, and Tunisia remains high, particularly targeting energy facilities using IEDs and small-arms.
Last update: September 18, 2019

Operational Outlook

Although legal barriers to non-hydrocarbon investment are likely to be reduced gradually in the next two years in an attempt to attract FDI, the state will maintain control over strategic sectors such as energy, automotive, and steel. Foreign investments are at risk of expropriation in the event of disputes with the government, or if they fail to perform to expectations. Administrative inefficiency, corruption, and an overburdened legal system pose obstacles for business. Anti-government protests are likely to pose business and traffic disruption, especially on Fridays, across the country.

Last update: August 13, 2019

Terrorism

High

Escalation of domestic civil unrest would require the allocation of security force personnel and other resources to major cities, but is unlikely to critically deplete resources along Algeria’s borders or in militant hotspots. Troop deployments to the eastern and southern borders with Tunisia, Libya, and Mali remain in place, mitigating the risk of jihadist incursions. Given the distances involved, this is, however, insufficient to prevent all infiltration. The Algerian army (APN) regularly discovers arms and ammunition caches, most commonly IEDs and small-arms. Jihadist groups lack the capability to undertake an attack in a major city, instead focusing on localised attacks targeting security forces, kidnap for ransom, and small-scale extortion of locals.

Last update: July 13, 2019

Crime

The majority of crimes tend to be committed by individuals or small numbers of low-capability and poorly organised criminal groups. These do not exert significant influence over local authorities or public institutions, nor do they pose an extortion risk to businesses. Petty crime usually occurs in poorer urban areas, away from business and leisure areas frequented by expatriates which enjoy higher security presence, including police checkpoints. The most serious criminality comes from jihadist-related criminality to finance their activities, such as illegal narcotics and weapons trafficking, particularly along the southern borders. The risk from violent crime is moderate.

Last update: July 13, 2019

War Risks

Algeria has long placed high emphasis on securing its more than 6,000-km border areas, particularly against jihadist penetration from Libya, Mauritania, Mali, and Niger, and this is likely to reinforce it during the ongoing transitional government period. Algeria's established military doctrine excludes deployment on operations outside Algeria and gives primacy to enhancing frontier security. Consequently, regional security co-operation remains weak, although Algeria has stepped up security co-operation with neighbouring states; for instance, jointly co-ordinating intelligence collection with Tunisian forces in the border area, which was reinforced since 2017. On the Libyan side, co-operation is problematic, given the prevalence of competing militias there and the absence of any effective state military forces.

Last update: June 20, 2019

Social Stability

Very high

Algeria's largest protests in 20 years began in February 2019, in response to the planned presidential election in which then-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika was to stand for a fifth term. The protests, drawing on participants from across a wide spectrum from society, led to Bouteflika resigning on 2 April. Regular demonstrations have continued, calling for wholesale political change and the removal of elites and any individuals associated with Bouteflika. No protest leadership has yet emerged. Prior to these political protests, triggers of mass social unrest generally included material factors, such as housing or unemployment. Violent protests and riots usually involve uncoordinated groups and urban youths, allowing them to be easily contained.

Last update: June 5, 2019

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Algeria. However, the government of Algeria requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Malaria: There is a low risk of contracting malaria. As such, doctors usually advise travelers to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites rather than prescribing antimalarial medications.

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

Algeria is highly vulnerable to floods. In 2001, flooding in the Algiers neighborhood of Bab El Oued left nearly 1000 people dead and caused major damage.

Earthquakes sometimes strike in the north of the country. On May 21, 2003, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 on the Richter scale left 2200 dead and 15,000 homeless in Boumerdès. Less violent earthquakes occur regularly. To learn more about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake, see this advice from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Snowfall may occur in the winter and can cause widespread transportation disruptions.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

Algeria suffers from a high number of road-related fatalities due to poor road conditions and driving habits. Despite an improvement in road security measures over the past few years, the number of incidents remains high. The Ministry of the Interior reported that approximately 12 people die per day in traffic incidents, a rate of approximately 4380 deaths per year.

Travel by road outside of cities is not advised. If traveling by car is unavoidable, do so in a convoy of several vehicles equipped with emergency communication devices (e.g. satellite telephones). Roadside ambushes are infrequent but at least four separate incidents occurred in 2016, leaving several Algerian citizens dead. In all cases, it is preferable to travel with a local.

Military and police checkpoints are common on major roads within large cities and throughout the countryside. Security personnel at these checkpoints expect full cooperation. For these and other reasons, air travel is preferred inside the country.

If taking a taxi, ask your hotel to recommend a reliable company and do not allow other unknown passengers to join you during the journey. Arrange for the driver to collect you for the return journey as taxis are not widely available, particularly after dark.

Travel by train is possible between Algiers and Oran but is not recommended.

The SNCM ferry company (La Société Nationale Corse Méditerranée) serves both Algiers and Skikda from Marseille, and Oran from Alicante (Spain). The ferry transports both cars and people. It is advised to arrange for your pick up from the port of arrival in advance.  

Algiers-Houari Boumediene International Airport (ALG) is located in the southeast of the capital and adheres to international air safety standards. While security measures are not on par with those of US airports, security personnel are present throughout the airport. The government has recently taken steps to improve airport security.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The north of the country, including along the coastline and the Tell Atlas mountain chain, has a Mediterranean climate (hot and dry summers, cool and wet winters). The high plateau regions in the center of the country are semi-arid while the area south of the Saharan Atlas chain is desert.

Temperatures can vary significantly within a single day, particularly in the Sahara Desert where temperatures can fluctuate between extremes in the space of a few hours (above 40°C during the day and below 5°C at night).

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +213
Police: 21

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019